Thank God lobster grows in New England, making it relatively less expensive than if I were living in, say, Kansas. I say "relatively" because lobster is still considered a luxury here, but I managed to get a pound of lobster claws and meat for $7.99 and I don't care where you live, that's a steal! Especially since I didn't have to deal with the steaming/cracking/picking/time consuming part of it.
Ingredients (serves 2 plus leftovers):1/2 lb Campanelle pasta
4 C 1% milk, room temperature (look at me, tryin' to be healthy n' stuff)
1/2 stick (4tbsp) of butter (just kidding!)
4 tbsp flour
1 C shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 C shredded Fontina (only because I had a hunk of it getting old in the fridge)
1/2 lb lobster claw and tail meat, cooked
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
Zest of 1 medium-sized lemon
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 C panko-style bread crumbs
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1. Start boiling water for the pasta, don't forget to salt it!
2. Preheat the oven to 375F.
3. Make a bechamel sauce: Heat the butter until it is melted but not browning. Add the flour to the butter, whisking the whole time, and cook it for about 5-6 minutes, or until it is a light, golden color. Add the room temperature milk (you can also heat the milk over a low flame to speed this step up a little), and continue to whisk until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
4. Remove the bechamel from the heat, and add the shredded cheeses, lobster meat, salt, pepper, lemon zest, tarragon and nutmeg, stirring to incorporate and melt the cheeses.
5. Toss the al dente pasta with the cheese/lobster sauce, then pour it into an oven safe dish. I used little individual gratin dishes.
6. Mix the bread crumbs with the olive oil and sprinkle them over the top of the pasta.
7. Bake for 20-30min, or until the sauce is bubbly and the pasta/bread crumbs are browned on the top.
I chose a 2008 Chardonnay to serve with this because I thought a medium-bodied, slightly oaky and acidic Chardonnay would help cut through the richness of the dish. I chose wisely.
All in all, this dinner was pretty easy to make and felt very luxurious for a weeknight meal. I would definitely do it again for a dinner party or if I was trying to impress people.